Discussion

Don't blame the bench bosses

More often than not, NHL coaches have limited impact on team performance

Originally Published: December 13, 2011
By Kent Wilson | Hockey Prospectus

Only 30 or so games into the season and already National Hockey League coaches are dropping like flies. The recent firing of Terry Murray brings the 2011-12 total to five (including Davis Payne, Paul Maurice, Bruce Boudreau and Randy Carlyle) and we haven't even hit the midseason mark.

It's often said that coaches are hired to be fired. It's a funny quip that makes light of how frequently the axe falls in the NHL, but looking at some statistical trends in the wake of past coaching changes, it appears that a coach's impact between his hiring and firing is fairly minimal. In truth, the coach is seldom at fault for a team's struggles, and the improvement teams experience after he's canned is not completely because of the new face behind the bench.

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